I create organizational momentum through a combination of strategy and building powerful teams. I’ve done this across many contexts and industries as an entrepreneur, org designer, exec recruiter, and executive.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I studied in Vermont, Zanzibar, and Sweden. I spent several years in Boulder, Colorado before relocating to New York City. I now live in Westchester County, New York with my wife and son.
creating Momentum
Pardon Family Office
I established and run the Pardon family office for Nicholas Pardon, including the architecture of the portfolio of holdings, hiring our industry-leading CFO, recruiting our most senior creative executive, and establishing an operating system for the family office that uses dynamic capital allocation to fund reinvestments in the operating businesses alongside art acquisition, arts programming, real estate development, and other investments.
Optimism Media
While running the Pardon family office, we re-constituted and reconfigured the owned-and-operated digital media businesses of the portfolio into a single global brand: Optimism. We changed and added leadership in multiple executive roles, modernized the revenue strategy, re-ignited the brand launching capability, raised the bar for brand quality and data infrastructure, and launched three of the most successful brands in the company’s history. This turnaround effort resulted in substantial increase in free cash flow, as the business went from having plateaued around $XXM/year to ~$YYM/year in revenues and double digit YoY growth, while margins grew from ~A% to ~DD% in the same time period.
Palm Ventures
I advise a single family office in their talent strategy as they adapt a longstanding capability in mature company turnarounds into an early-stage venture studio model of acquiring stuck companies and pivoting them into success. Key contributions include advising on hiring multiple Partners and the firm’s first Chief of Staff, strategizing on several portfolio CEO and CXO hires, and architecting best-in-class talent infrastructure for building pipelines quickly and effectively.
BerlinRosen is an industry-leading communications & public affairs professional services firm. When I met them their business growth was being held back by an outdated and dysfunctional people department. I re-architected their people department, overhauled their processes and approach to searches, and recruited several team leads across the company. As their growth compounded from $XXM/year to $YYM/year, they eventually raised private equity funding, began acquiring other communications firms, and rebranded as Orchestra. I advise Brightmode Talent, their spin-out communications search firm, now run by the person who I initially referred to lead BerlinRosen’s talent function.
HR&A Advisors
HR&A Advisors is an industry-leading firm in urban and economic development, advising private, public, and philanthropic clients on how to improve quality of life in cities. When I met them, they had a talent function that was sorely in need of upgrades and a strategic roadmap. I built them a roadmap, recruited multiple Directors and dozens of Analysts while diversifying their team, recruited their first Head of People, and designed a fundamentally new organizational model that would allow them to effectively scale a high performing and cohesive culture. All of this took place over several years, as they grew from $AAM/year to $BBM/year.
The Vermont Cynic
My first experience with business was a “turnaround” of the Vermont university newspaper. I took the business manager job from a friend who was uninspired by it, as it was the only work-study role on campus with uncapped pay from ad sales commissions.Over the course of two years, I rebuilt a team of sales reps, overhauled the workflows for ad sales, and put the Cynic back on strong business footing. We went from having -$25K in our student government account, to be being highly profitable with a balance of $200K when I graduated.
building new companies
I built Formidable, a boutique talent consultancy and executive search firm. I used a network of org design consultants, recruiters, and other specialists to help companies navigate challenges and opportunities related to talent, recruiting, and organizational performance. Formidable used a mix of retainer and project/search-based models to serve a wide range of companies.
I cofounded ReWork, a recruiting firm centered around meaningful work, with two friends. ReWork came out of my fellowship at the Unreasonable Institute, a social venture accelerator program which has since become the Unreasonable Group. ReWork helped nonprofits, social enterprises, foundations, and other impact-driven organizations hire the best talent. I served as ReWork’s first CEO for the first few years of operation, eventually reaching a $1M/yr revenue run rate.
Hired Hands
During and after college I started several businesses and enterprising projects of various types, most notably the Hired Hands, a simple service of hiring friendly recent college grads (starting with me and my friends). We built the business on Craigslist, made tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a few seasons and – most importantly – had a ton of fun and interesting stories helping the people of Pittsburgh that hired us.
politics, policy, and governance
Unite America
Unite America is a leading national catalyst for nonpartisan election reform, a healthier democracy, and more functional government. I helped their founder with strategic projects for over a year and placed their first Managing Director who helped oversee years of expansion and strategic wins for the organization.
In 2018, I chaired my wife’s insurgent run for New York Senate, overseeing campaign strategy, communications, team structure, and hiring. She won, unseating a 14-year political kingpin who was caucusing with Republicans in Albany to keep Democrats in the minority, and effectively preventing many much-needed reforms for the state of New York.
Her victory dismantled his rogue caucus, returned control of the Senate to the Democrats, and set the stage for the most prolific legislative session in New York history (not hyperbole), in which she and her colleagues delivered a landslide of progressive and common-sense reforms, including:
  • Enshrining a woman’s right to choose in New York’s constitution via the Reproductive Health Act.
  • Passing the nation’s most strict climate change legislation, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
  • Passing key election and voting reforms, including vote by mail and same-day voter registration.
  • Passing Erin’s Law, and the Child Victims Act, which collectively help prevent and prosecute crimes of child sexual assault and abuse.
  • Passing the strongest sexual harassment laws in the country, as well as the Adult Survivors Act, a law that was used to prosecute Harvey Weinstein and hold Donld Trump accountable to E Jean Carrol in the state of New York.
Hillary for America
I was recruited to serve as Director of Talent Acquisition and Development for Hillary Clinton’s (second) campaign for President, in 2016. I was there from the start, working out of her private office in Manhattan before campaign headquarters were opened and the campaign officially launched in Brooklyn, to the bitter end – standing in the Javitz Center watching the map tip to Trump on election night. I oversaw all recruiting operations. The $1B campaign operation hired 800 staff at HQ in Brooklyn, including engineers, designers, and data analysts, and 3,600 field organizers across the country. We built the most diverse campaign staff in history. I had my tickets to go to DC the morning after election night to serve on the Transition team doing Presidential Appointments work. Alas… that adventure will have to wait for another day.
Woods End
My wife and I are in the process of developing Woods End, our home in Bedford, NY. The multi-acre woodland property has a newly renovated single-story main dwelling, a series of gardens across the grounds, and a pond complete with laying ducks.
background & networks
I have a B.A. in Global Human Impact Studies from the University of Vermont. This was a self-designed course of study rooted in ecology, climate science, complex systems, community development, and applied economics. I was fortunate to study abroad twice, studying coastal ecology in Zanzibar with the School for International Training, and doing a pacific rim voyage of Semester at Sea.

I went on to pursue a M.S. in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden. This was a graduate degree in navigating complex systems, strategy, and applied sustainability, something akin to a “green MBA” program.

After Sweden I joined the world of entrepreneurship and social innovation, as a fellow of StartingBloc, the Unreasonable Institute, and the New York City Venture Fellows, while building ReWork.
misc & exploratory
Many of my current interests don’t fit neatly into boxes, or relate to each other.

Some things I’m exploring and would love to have conversations about:
  • American history, American civilization, and Americana writ large
  • Terraforming technologies, cultivating a garden planet
  • Garden design and landscape architecture
  • Hospitality and experience design
  • Game design, TTRPGs
I tweet about some of these things, and that’s a good place to connect with me.